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The Diamond Lens

3.1  ·  Rating Details ·  80 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Fitz-James O'Brien (1828-1862) was an author and is often considered one of the forerunners of today's Science Fiction. While he was in college he had shown an aptitude for writing verse, and two of his poems Loch Ine and Irish Castles were published in The Ballads of Ireland (1856). His earliest writings in the United States were contributed to the Lantern. Subsequently h ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published February 15th 2008 by Dodo Press (first published 1858)
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Amy Sturgis
Rereading this for my class, I am struck again by the balance of the Gothic and the scientific in O'Brien's story. This is the first known published tale in which another world is perceived through a microscope, and O'Brien does great justice to the sense of wonder and longing this sight evokes. It's a powerfully dark and haunting story despite its brevity.
Mar 21, 2017 Júlia rated it did not like it
1 star meaning: it really isn't worth it
That was a pretty random story that constantly got me confused (not because my first language isn't English, but because of the nonsense it mostly was for me) and unintentionelly skipping paragraphes. I wasn't even able to properly finish it;
There is, however, this one quote that I really liked.
it goes:
"Every great genius is mad upon tha subject in wich he is greatest. The unsuccessful madman is disgraced and called lunatic"
Артём Багинский
As far as I can make out this is a story of mankind looking at nature with destructive admiration, with a moral along the lines of The Little Prince - we're responsible for who we discover and observe, due to some quantum mechanical effects, anticipated by O'Brien all the way in 1858. Another trope that seems to be at the basis of the story is the blood and madness trail that is routinely left by especially large jewels.

One bit - and if you're spoiler-averse then close your eyes - reminded me of
Scott Harris
Feb 07, 2013 Scott Harris rated it really liked it
Considering the era in which this short story was written, O'Brien was impressive in his capacity to imagine a world within the world. Even more impressive though was his capacity to demonstrate the humility that was lacking in many other pieces of science fiction, wherein although the human capacity could discover but only to reveal a better reality than the one lived. Some very interesting theological reflections can be borne out reading this piece
Feb 07, 2012 Arun rated it did not like it
I failed to see any potential output from this story. I don't even understand if it did beheld any symbolism. It's just me.

The language is exquisite and was extremely poetic. Unexpected twist of events. How extreme passion can drive one to do immoral things, if there be, just to satisfy the thirst is very clearly shown.
Jan 01, 2017 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
Short story, and an iconic one. Always fun to read these stories that are the deep roots of science-fiction/fantasy.
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Apr 15, 2013
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Nickfolian Tiapass
I liked this book it was short and easy to get through but that may have been because I simply could not put it down. I highly recommend this book to any that want to read a classic tale of science fiction.

-Nickfolian Tiapass
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He was born Michael O'Brien in County Cork, and was very young when the family moved to Limerick, Ireland. He attended the University of Dublin, and is believed to have been at one time a soldier in the British army. On leaving college he went to London, and in the course of four years spent his inheritance of £8,000, meanwhile editing a periodical in aid of the World's Fair of 1851. About 1852 he ...more
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